Barak Austral Snr, father of Barak Austral who drowned with his brother Jhulio Sariago, embraces daughter Chasey at the Ross River. Picture: Alix Sweeney.
Barak Austral Snr, father of Barak Austral who drowned with his brother Jhulio Sariago, embraces daughter Chasey at the Ross River. Picture: Alix Sweeney.

Mum drank heavily before deaths: police

The mother charged after her two young sons were found dead in a river near Townsville was allegedly drinking heavily with friends the night before, the Courier Mail reports.

Leeann Eatts has been charged with the manslaughter of her sons Barak Austral, 5, and Jhulio Sariago, 3, who drowned last month in the Ross River at Cranbrook, a suburb in Townsville's southwest.

According to an exclusive Courier Mail report, police have received information Ms Eatts might have been sleeping off a hangover when the boys wandered off.

Their bodies were found submerged in a deep cutaway of the Ross River, which flows along the southern edge of Cranbrook, on the morning of February 26.

Queensland Police charged Leeann Eatts on Friday with two counts of manslaughter, alleging her "gross negligence" caused her sons' deaths.

The 47-year-old has also been separately charged with trafficking dangerous drugs and supplying drugs to minors, in alleged offences unconnected with the deaths of her sons.

Leeann Eatts (centre) at the smoking ceremony for her young sons, was ‘drinking heavily’ before they wandered off and drowned, police allege. Picture: Alix Sweeney.
Leeann Eatts (centre) at the smoking ceremony for her young sons, was ‘drinking heavily’ before they wandered off and drowned, police allege. Picture: Alix Sweeney.

Townsville Child Protection and Investigation Unit officer-in-charge detective Senior Sergeant Dave Miles led the investigation culminating in the charges against Ms Eatts.

"This is an investigation that revolves around the care of these young boys and what lead to their tragic passing," he said.

"There is no way these boys should be left in the way they were.

"There is no way (they) should have been allowed to go down to the river, and certainly their deaths under appropriate supervision and management by a parent would have been averted."

Detective Miles said prior to the boys' disappearance and tragic end allegedly "there was complete inattention … for a considerable amount of time".

"We have significant history in relation to the movement of the boys in the days, weeks and even months prior to this particular event," he said.

Ms Eatts was due to face Townsville Magistrates Court today, when police prosecutors are expected to oppose her being granted bail.

Leeann Eatts embraces a mourner at the funeral for her sons in Townsville. Picture: Glenn Campbell.
Leeann Eatts embraces a mourner at the funeral for her sons in Townsville. Picture: Glenn Campbell.

 

Leeann Eatts arrives at Townville Watchhouse. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Leeann Eatts arrives at Townville Watchhouse. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Jhulio Sariago, 3.
Jhulio Sariago, 3.
Barak Austral, 5.
Barak Austral, 5.
Pall bearers carry one of the boys’ coffins from the funeral of the brothers who drowned in the Ross River. Picture: Glenn Campbell.
Pall bearers carry one of the boys’ coffins from the funeral of the brothers who drowned in the Ross River. Picture: Glenn Campbell.
Ms Eatts was charged with manslaughter. Picture: Shae Beplate.
Ms Eatts was charged with manslaughter. Picture: Shae Beplate.

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